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Full text of "The two Caldwell monuments on the campus of the University of North Carolina"

EuTAW Springs 



99 



onel Williams will g'ive your Instructions on that head 
and whence I wish you to take post; as I feel myself 
under many Oblig-ations to you for your Exertions, to 
promote the Service and particularly for your g'allant 
Conduct in the Action at Eutaws [is i] Shall Still con- 
sider myself under additional Oblig-ations, if you'll Ex- 
ert yourself in providing for & accomodateing, the poor 
unfortinate wound'd. Thier Distress for want of Sup- 
plies wound my Humanity, our Victory was Complete, 
and nothing but the House Saved the whole Army from 
falling into Our Hands. The Enemy however fled to 
Charlestown, at Eutaws they [Stored] thier Liquors and 
left upwards of a Thousand Stand of Arms, and many 
other Military Stores. When our Prisoners are all Col- 
lected of the well & wound'd they will Amount to be- 
tween four & five Hundred, and I think Thier Kill'd 
and wound'd will be between live and Six Hundred; per- 
haps more their loss — Our Loss is Considerable as the 
Action was long & Obstinate 

With Esteem & regards, 
I am D'r Sir your most Obed't Humble Serv't 




to colonel Malmedy. 



AN AUTUMN LEAF. 

Torn from th}- stem poor, withered leaf 
Where goest thou? 

'I nothing- know, the storm swept oak 
Where once I clung- at last is broke. 
Tossed on the breath of restless g'ale 
From wood to plain, from mount to vale, 
I g-o where blows th' inconstant wind 
Nor sig-h, nor find my fate unkind. 
I g-o where all thing's fair must come, 
Where thou, in turn, must find a home. 
There lies the rose when life is done 
There fall the laurels one by one." 

— From the French of At'nault. 



GENERAL INTEREST 



THE TWO CALDWELL MONUMENTS ON THE CAMPUS 
OF THE UNIVEFSSiTY OF NORTH CAROLINA. 

DR. Joseph Caldwell came to Chapel Hill on October 
31st, 1796, from a Tutorship at Princeton Univer- 
sity, then and until recently, the "College of New Jer- 
sey." He entered upon his duties as Professor of Math- 
ematics after only one day's rest, and in a few months 
the institution was placed under his charge as Presiding- 
Professor. His health beginning to fail after two years, 
the Trustees, in order to prevent his departure gave the 
principalship to Rev. James S. Gillaspie, but after a 
rather stormy administration he resigned the place and 
Mr. Caldwell was induced to take charge a second time. 
In 1804 the Trustees elected him to the Presidency and 
he continued in this office until 1813. Being fond of the 
study and teaching of Mathematics, and wishing to com- 
plete his treatise on Geometry, he applied to the Trustees 
to choose a new President, recommending Rev. Robert 
Hett Chapman, D. D., of New York. His counsel was 
heeded but, after four years unpleasant experience, main- 
ly on account of the heated political feeling engendered 
by the war with England, Dr. Chapman gave up his 
post and early in January, 1817, Dr. Caldwell again 
became President, very reluctantly, but as a matter of 
duty to the University he loved so well. He had already 
resisted the blandishments of a larger salary and the 
chief place in a richer college of another state. 

After a few years the University came into possession 






102 The University Magazine 

of considerable funds from the sale of Tennessee lands, 
and became more prosperous. Hig-h water mark was 
reached in 1823, the number being- 173, which, consider- 
ing- the sparse population and difficulty of travelling- in 
those da\"s, was conclusive proof of the public confidence. 
The Trustees, on this account, and in expectation of con- 
tinued receipts from the sale of their lands, sent Dr. 
Caldwell to Europe, at his ovvm sug-g-estion, for the pur- 
chase of books and apparatus for instruction, and beg-an 
the construction of a new chapel, the Old West Building- 
and a third story to the Old East. The Faculty also 
was enlarg-ed. 

It was not long- before a financial crisis came and 
blasted this prosperit}'. The number of students dimin- 
ished, the sales of land ceased and the g-olden stream from 
Tennessee dried up. The Trustees were no wiser than 
other men. They shrunk from discarding- professors and 
discontinuing- their building-, and soon they owed a debt 
of forty thousand dollars. 

Anxiety about this financial trouble was not the only 
affliction of the g-ood President. He was attacked by a 
g-rievous internal malady, which became a constant and 
chronic torture. He journeyed to Philadelphia, whose 
phj'sicians then stood at the head of their profession in 
America, but they thoug-ht his disease be3'ond the reach 
of surg-ery. Bravely and uncomplaining-ly he per- 
formed his duties, never asking for aid. Even when the' 
Trustees elected Professor, afterwards Judge, Walker 
Anderson, to perform his duties, he insisted on taking 
on himself half the work. He sunk to his rest on 
the 27th of January, 1835. He was buried in the middle 
of the lot now called the Village Cemetery, which had 



The Caldwell Monuments 103 

been laid off on University land and enclosed by a stone 
wall under his direction. His gfrave had been walled i n 
b}' his own orders. 

President Caldwell attained a very high place in the 
public reg-ard. In 1804, simultaneously with his election 
as President, the General Assembly appointed him a 
Trustee of the University. He was the astronomical ex- 
pert to run the western part of the boundary line between 
the Carolinas. He had published admirable letters over 
the pen name of Carlton, advocating a railroad from 
our Western boundary to Beaufort. Pie had ably cham- 
pioned popular education. The name of the county of 
Caldwell given six years after his death shows the esti- 
mation of the legislature, the representatives of the 
people. The following resolutions of the Trustees, 
whom he served, have the merit of truth without exag- 
geration. 

"Raleigh, 6th of February, 1835. 

On motion of Governor Swain. 

Whereas the Executive Committee with the deepest 
emotions of sorrow have received intelligence of the 
death of Rev'd. Joseph Caldwell, D. D., President of the 
University, 

Resolved unanimously, that by the eminent purity of 
his life, his patriotism and zeal in the cause of learning, 
and his long, faithful and distinguished public service 
at the head of the University, Doctor Caldwell has ap- 
proved himself one of the noblest benefactors of the 
State and deserves the lasting gratitude and reverence of 
his countrymen. 

Professor Anderson was then requested to prepare a 
memoir of the life and character of the deceased Presi- 



104 The University Magazine 

dent, to be be delivered at the following- Commencement. 
This was excellently done and was printed in pamphlet. 

Judg-e Frederick Nash and Rev. Dr. Wm. McPhcctcrs 
were appointed to erect an appropriate monument "in 
the burial g-round near the University. " The authorities 
afterwards concluded to place it in the Campus, and the 
site chosen was thought to be sufficiently' remote from any 
building- then standing or likely to be erected. Its in- 
convenient proximity to the New AVest Building- shows 
how mistaken as to the progress of the University were 
the locators. 

The body of Dr Caldwell has been exhumed twice. A 
day or two after his death, at the instance of the Philan- 
thropic Society, it was taken up by Mr. A¥aug-h of Ral- 
eig-h in order to procure a plaster cast of his features. 
The bust is now in Gerrard Hall and is a faithful repro- 
duction. The g-rave was reopened on October 31st 1846 
and the remains were reinterred by the side of his wife 
at the base of the monument. 

His wife died October 30th, 1846, while on a visit to 
Chapel Hill. Her maiden name was Helen Hogg-, she 
being a daughter of James Hogg-, a prominent merchant 
of Hillsboro, who was one of the Commissioners that 
chose the site for the University. Her first husband was 
William Hooper, son of the Signer of the Declaration of 
Independence of the same name. He died early leaving- 
two sons, William and Thomas Clark, and when the 
elder was prepared for the University, she moved to 
Chapel Hill in order to have him with her. Dr. Cald- 
well had married Susan Rowan, who, with her infant 
daughter, died soon leaving him a widower and childless. 
Before many years elapsed the fascinating young widow 



The Caldwell Monuments 105 

l)ecame the President's wife, and well she adorned her 
station by the g-raciousness of her manners the activity 
of her benevolence and leadership in g-ood works. Her 
elder son, Rev. Wm. Hooper, D. D., became one of the 
ripest scholars, the most interesting- and informing 
speakers and most learned divines in the South. After 
the President's death she moved back to Hillsboro, where 
were many relations, and was on a visit to Chapel Hill 
when she died. The following notice, kindly copied 
for me by Miss Alice C. Heartt from the Hillsboro Rec- 
order, of which her father, Mr. Demnis Heath, was for 
many years editor, is a truthful estimate. 

"H11.LSBOR0 Recorder." 

Thursday, November 5th, 1846. 

"Died at Chapel Hill on Friday morning-, the 30th 
ultimo, in the 78th 3'ear of her age, Mrs. Helen Caldwell, 
relict of the Rev. Dr. Joseph Caldwell, late President of 
the University of North Carolina. The deceased was a 
woman of extraordinary endowments, blending- in her 
character the hig-hest mental culture with all the Christ- 
ian graces, in their liveliest exercise. She has left few 
superiors; and those who enjoyed her acquaintance will 
feel that, by her removal, a space has been left in society, 
which will not soon be filled. But with what confidence 
can her friends and relations commit her to the tomb. 
She was a brig-ht and shining- lig-ht in the Church, and 
it was impossible to be in her company without admiring 
the Cristian cheerfulness which she at all times exhib- 
ited. 

"The funeral obsequies were performed at Chapel Hill 
on Sunday last, the President and Faculty of the Uni- 
versity acting- as pall-bearers on the occasion. The 



106 The University Magazine 

sermon was delivered bv the Rev. Dr. !\Iitchell from 
Phil. IV. 3, and lier remains were dei)Ositcd with those 
of her late husband, at the base of the monument 
erected to his memory 1:>\- the Trustees of the Univer- 
sity." 

Thirty years afterwards her child, Dr. William Hooper, 
after laliorin^;- in many fields, was iivins>- in Chapel Plill, 
where he had spent most of hisl)oyliood an<l much of his 
manhood. He was attacked bv a fatal disease and as 
he felt himself sinkiny towards the portals of death, 
long-ed to be laid by tlie side of b.is mother. The Uni- 
versity authorities readilv granted his request, and, 
when on the l*)th of August, ls7(), the Centennial anni- 
versary of the sig-ning- by his gfrandfather of the instru- 
ment which declared the independence of the American 
people, the g^ood man breathed his last, he was borne 
from Gerrard Hall to the resting- place which he liad 
chosen. 

This monument is of sandstone from one of the quar- 
ries near the University Building-s, possiblv that on the 
land bequeathed to the institution b}- !\Irs. IMary I^liza- 
beth Mason. The stone soon beg-an to crumble and 
g-row ding-y. Moreover the plan was to insert on the 
eastern face a marble slab with an appropriate inscription 
in Latin. When this slab came from the v/orkman at 
the North, the Latin was found to be so atrociously bad 
as to be be3'ond amendment. The Professor of that lan- 
g"uag-e, in disg-ust, seized a hamm.er and broke the offend- 
ing- marble into frag-inents. It was never replaced. 

At the Commencement of 1847 amid the g-eneral 
enthusiasm aroused b}^ the visit of President Polk to the 
scene of his graduation twenty-nine years before, it w^as 




THE OLD CALDWELL MONUMENT. 



108 The University Magazine 

proposed to erect a new inonument of marble, more 
worthy of the President, so much venerated b}- the ohler 
Alumni. The motion was made by Jolin Y. Mason, of 
the class of 18U), then Secretary of the Nav}-. Presi- 
dent Polk headed the subscription and others of the emi- 
nent Alumni present followed, it beini^ ajj-reed that no 
one should contribute more than three dollars. It was 
not until the Commencement of 1858 that the monument 
was ready to be dedicated. It was prei)ared under the 
supervision of a Committee, President Swain, Mr. Wm. 
J. Bing-ham and Judge William H. Battle. 

It is an obelisk of white marble over twent^y feet higdi, 
standing- in front of the South Building-, not far from 
the Davie Poplar. A tablet toward the top bears as 
emblem of Dr. Caldwell's services to the State, a Rail 
Road wheel, an Eng-ineer's Transit, and the Holy Bible. 
The inscriptions are as follows: 

On the North face; 

"In g-rateful acknowledgment 

Of their oblig-ation to 

The First President of this Universit}-, 

Joseph CakUvell, D. D. 

The President of the United States, 

The Governor of North Carolina, 

And other Alumni 

Have raised this mxOnument 

A. D. 1847.'' 

On the West face; 

"Born at Laming-ton, New^ Jersej', 

April 21st 1773. 

Professor of Mathematics in this 

University, 1796. 

Died at Chapel Hill 

January 27, 1835." 




The Caldwell Monuments 109 

On the South face; 

"He was an early 

Conspicuous and devoted advocate 

Of the cause of Common Schools and 

Internal improvements in North Carolina." 

On the East face; 

"Near him repose the remains of 
His beloved wife, 
Helen Caldwell." 

The monument is the work of Struthers and Company 
of Philadelphia. It was transported by water to Vv^'il- 
ming-ton, and then, by the liberality of the Wilming-ton 
and Weldon and North Carolina Railroad Companies, 
broug-ht without charg-e to Durham. Mr. Paul C. Cam- 
eron with like g-enerosity caused it to be hauled with 
his own team over the roug-h road to Chapel Hill, the 
bridg-e over New Hope being- specially streng-thened to 
bear the unusual weig-ht. 

The dedicatory services were on the day preceding- 
Commencement day, 1858. The Alumni marched from 
Smith Hall, while the band played a funeral dirg-e, to 
the site of the monument, and standing- around it with 
uncovered heads, sang- tke g-rand Doxolog-y, "Praise God 
from whom all blessing-s flow." Then Rev. Dr. James 
Phillips, the only survivor of Dr. Caldwell's colleagues, 
offered a prayer with that extraordinary propriety of 
lang-uag-e and solemnity of utterance for which he was 
distinguished. The procession was ag-ain formed and, 
marching- to Gerrard Hall, the Alumni, students and 
visitors, listened to an ex.:ellent address, commemorative 
of the deceased President, b}' one of his pupils and 
greatest admirers, President of the Alumni Association, 



no The University Magazine 

the late Paul C. Cameron. I g-ive a few words of his 
eiilog-}' delivered in 188'> at the Charter Centennial. 

"These woods must ever call up the memory, form 
and characteristics of Joseph Caldwell, and will, as long- 
as these walls by which we are surrounded shall stand, 
or this pleasant village is known as a seat of learning; 
and so long as the name of the University is on the map; 
it will be associated with that of the first President. 
To leave it out would be as if the topog-rapher should 
present us with Switzerland without its profile of mount- 
ains, or old Eg'3'pt without its overflowing and fertiliz- 
ing Nile, or our vast North American Continent without 
the great Father of Waters, in his grand sweep from the 
lakes of the North to the Gulf of Mexico. The good 
man needs no euology at my hands, and no praise of 
mine can add a cubit to his stature. His early struggles 
in its behalf must stand alone in the building up of this 
institution. He came like Paul to plant, and then like 
Apollos to water with his tears, prayers, benedictions 
and benefactions to the end of his days — a continuous 
effort of thirty-one years.'' 

"It is a pleasant memory to the surviving Alumni to 
renri the stendv devotion of good President Caldwell to 
this institution and his complete identification of him- 
self with the citizens of the State in every interest. He 
made himself a freeholder and a slave-holder, and today 
the chief servant* of the institution is of his famih^ of 
slaves. And so long as the great trunk line railroad 
from Morehead Cit}- shall increase the wealth and com- 
merce of the State the name of Caldwell will be remem- 
bered as its first projector in the letters of 'Carlton.' " 

Kemp P. Battle, '49. 

* The late Wilson Caldwell.